Just prior to Christmas, our founder, Emma Seibold, shared her thoughts with Vogue about whether our minds can control our weight. (Particularly during the silly season.) Here’s what she had to say, and you can view the original article right here.

Along with tinsel and Christmas tunes, this time of year comes with a good dash of stress. If it’s not the department store crowds or the last-minute work priorities, it’s the failed turkey and the family dramas. Unfortunately, stress seems to simply be a part of modern life (particularly at Christmas time), but the worst part? It’s not just our brains that suffer, as research shows us that stress actually causes our bodies to cling to fat. In other words, that pudding may not be solely to blame. In fact, even if you’re eating well and exercising regularly, if you’re experiencing regular levels of stress, your body will not only resist weight loss, but it could even add some additional kgs to your frame. Great, thanks!

While I’m certainly not a hater of a little extra softness around the holidays, if it comes from a place of stress – I have no time for it.

So how does this happen? To simplify what is a very technical process, when you’re under stress, your brain sends a message to your cells to release potent hormones. As a result, you receive a burst of adrenaline, which taps into your energy stores so you can enter ‘fight or flight’ mode and deal with your stress. Simultaneously, you receive a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish that energy. (Even though you haven’t actually used much energy in the form of calories.) The result? You’re pumping cortisol, you fuel your body with more food, which turns into fat and clings to your system. Sound unkind? It is.

So save for taking off to Bali for a lifetime of bliss balls and meditation, what can we do to give our bodies the love required to release stress (and with it, perhaps some weight as well)?

Indulge in exercise you adore
We see it time and time again at Barre Body and Bende. When our clients move their bodies from a place of love, that’s when weight loss occurs. So find an exercise class or practice that you adore, and then enjoy every moment of it. When you’re moving at harmony with your body and your mind, that’s when you’ll change your body.

Give your mind a rest – regularly
Sure, to-do-lists have their time and place, but are they ever really done? Rather than waiting until everything is off your list before relaxing, dedicate some time throughout your day to resting your mind. Meditation – or simply the process of focusing on your breath – can be transformational, and doesn’t need to be for more than five minutes to have a positive impact on your mind (and your body).

Enjoy savasana
After a tough class, savasana also allows your body to rest, and to digest the important changes that have taken place in your body throughout class prior to entering the madness of normal life. Just like lifting weights to strengthen your biceps, placing controlled stress on the nervous system allows your body to develop the strength and endurance you need to manage normal life. However, if you don’t take that opportunity and jump straight back into normal life, your nervous system will become too tightly wound. The result? You won’t gain all the benefits from your practice.

Surround yourself in love
Perhaps most importantly – particularly at Christmas – do your best to surround yourself with love. Whether it’s self-love, or generated from family, friends, or your community – when you’re moving through life from a place of love, you’ll in turn love your body, regardless of its size. And in my mind, that’s one million times more important than whatever the scales may be telling you.